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Slavery in Texas Topic for ASU Lecture

January 31, 2013

The rise and implications of slavery in Texas will be explored by an academic pioneer in digital research and information mining during the fifth installment in Angelo State University’s 2012-13 Civil War Lecture Series at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, at Fort Concho.

Andrew J. Torget, an assistant professor of history and director of the Digital History Lab at the University of North Texas, will speak on “The Problem of Slavery in Early Texas” in the Fort Concho Commissary at the intersection of Flipper and Burgess Streets.

Using recent advances in technology and geospatial mapping, Torget will discuss how digital tools open new ways to explore the past and understand the movement of American slavery into Texas during the mid-19th century.

His academic research is considered among the best and most important new work in developing the digital history medium.  Torget has been a featured speaker on the digital humanities at Harvard, Stanford, Rice, the Library of Congress and the National Archives in Washington, D.C.  Torget, who received his bachelor’s degree in history from Texas A&M, is currently working on several digital humanities projects as well as a book, Cotton Empire: Slavery, the Texas Borderlands, and the Origins of the Mexican-American War.

Torget was the founding director of the Digital Scholarship Lab at the University of Richmond.  While earning his master’s and doctoral degrees in American history from the University of Virginia, he helped develop the “Valley of the Shadow Project,” a digital archive of primary sources that document the lives of people in Augusta County, Va., and Franklin County, Pa., during the era of the American Civil War.  Accessible at http://valley.lib.virginia.edu/, the digital resource allows visitors to explore thousands of original documents to better understand what Civil War life was like for the men and women of those two counties.

Dr. Kanisorn Wongsrichanalai, a Civil War scholar and coordinator for ASU’s 2012-13 Civil War Lecture Series, said the goal of the lecture series is to engage the community in reflection on the Civil War and its impact, even on contemporary society.

Other programs in ASU’s 2012-13 Civil War Lecture Series are:

  • March 26, “An Evening of Civil War Music,” ASU music faculty, 7 p.m., ASU Davidson Center; and
  • April 16-17, “Beloved Companion:  The Civil War Correspondence of James and Frances Catherine Wood,” 7 p.m., ASU Auditorium, Mayer Administration Building.

Persons interested in more information on the Civil War series can e-mail the ASU History Department at civilwar150@angelo.edu.

The Civil War series is jointly sponsored by multiple ASU departments, including the History Department, Center for Security Studies, West Texas Collection, Multicultural Center and Air Force ROTC, as well as Fort Concho and the Concho Valley Civil War Roundtable, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of that watershed event in American history.

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